Birmingham, England is all set to host the Commonwealth Games 2022 from 28 July to 8 August. Held every four years, the Games provide a revered global platform to sportspersons from all the commonwealth nations who contend for one of the highest sporting glories and accolades.
Under the Patronage of Queen Elizabeth II with Prince Edward as the Vice Patron, the Commonwealth Games (CWG) has grown massively over the years. Starting in 1930, in Hamilton Canada, the Commonwealth Games, today, is only second to the Olympics and has sportspersons competing across various disciplines.
With just days left for the Birmingham Games 2022, all eyes are set on the top contenders. From table tennis, basketball and athletics to cricket, swimming and hockey, the event is also one of the highest platforms for para-athletes to take part as well.
All the details on the Commonwealth Games 2022
Commonwealth Games rituals
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This year, the Games will be principally held at the Alexander Stadium. It is also the venue for the opening ceremony to be hosted on 28 July from 11.30 pm to 3.00 am local time (4.00 am, 29 July IST to 7.30 am, 29 July IST). This will be followed by various sporting events spread across other stadiums, arenas and venues throughout Birmingham and the UK. Of these, seven venues are in Birmingham, rest in the West Midlands of the UK, except the cycling track events. They will be held at Lee Valley VeloPark in the South Eastern city of London.
A special Commonwealth Games ritual is the Queen’s Baton Relay. The Birmingham Games mark the 16th official Queen’s Baton Relay. As part of the traditions, the Baton travels across 72 nations and territories before arriving at the venue.
The Queen’s message was put in the baton on 7 October 2021, and then it was set off on a 294-day journey across the Commonwealth nations. This is done as an emblem of connecting communities, spreading solidarity and instilling hope and unity among the different cultures.
Sports at the CWG 2022
Various countries send large contingents to the Commonwealth Games every year to bring laurels. And, a number of teams and individual events make the sporting arena quite a busy spectacle.
This year’s Commonwealth Games is no different. Top-seed sportspersons will be seen taking part in an array of events. In the Aquatic segment, there is diving, swimming and para-swimming.
— SAI Media (@Media_SAI) July 10, 2022
The athletics and para-athletics segment has 59 medal events. Various track events, including the 100 m sprint races, are to watch out for. India’s Hima Das and Dutee Chand are star sprinters at the 4x100m relay races, as well as strong medal contenders. Additionally, the streets of Birmingham will come alive with the CWG 2022 marathon.
The field events include javelin throw, where India’s Neeraj Chopra is a strong medal contender. The other major attractions are hammer throw, discus throw and shot put. And, games such as long jump, high jump, triple jump and pole vault, as well as multiple events like decathlon and heptathlon will see participants sweat it out on the field.
Other major sporting events sure to make headlines are basketball 3×3, beach volleyball and badminton, where India’s PV Sindhu, Lakshya Sen and Kidambi Srikanth are some of the strong players. India also looks forward to seeing to top boxers, including Nikhat Zareen and Lovlina Borgohain, at the CWG 2022.
T20 Cricket has been included this year as a women’s event. And, with its record, the Indian team is expected to make an important mark. Other sports to be held in Birmingham include various cycling events, gymnastics — both artistic and rhythmic — hockey, judo, lawn bowls and para lawn bowls, netball, para powerlifting, rugby sevens, squash, table tennis and para table tennis, triathlon and para-triathlon and wheelchair basketball 3×3.
India also has a solid contingent for weightlifting, including Mirabai Chanu and Purnima Pandey, while the wrestling squad has names like Sakshi Malik, Vinesh Phogat and Bajrang Punia.
Participating countries at CWG 2022
What started as a mere small-scale event with just 11 countries has grown to be one of the major sporting events. At the time of commencement in 1930, the Commonwealth Games were known as the British Empire Games and saw the participation of just 400 athletes.
Today, the Commonwealth Games 2022 is a congregation of 4,600 sportspersons from 72 countries and territories. Top contending nations include Australia, India, South Africa, England, New Zealand and Canada.
India at CWG 2022
Right from the second edition (except a few years) of the Games, India has been participating in the CWG 2022. The initial days saw a quiet and humble beginning, but over the years, India’s position has risen incredibly. This year marks the country’s 18th appearance at the CWG arena.
With ace Olympic medal winners and World Champions across various disciplines and fields, India is considered a major competition at the CWG 2022. As per The Times of India report dated 16 July 2022, the Indian Olympic Association has announced a CWG contingent of 322 heads. Out of these, 215 are competing athletes, while the rest 107 are official and support staff.
Looking back at the past Games, India has had a strong medal tally. In 2010, India was the host country and reached the second position with 101 medals. This was followed by a medal streak of 64 at the 2014 Glasgow Games and 66 medals at the last Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in 2018.
Where can you watch the Commonwealth Games 2022?
In India, the broadcasting rights of the Commonwealth Games 2022 have been acquired by Sony Pictures Network. You can catch all the action live from Birmingham across various Sony channels including Sony TEN 1, Sony TEN 2, Sony TEN 3, Sony SIX and Sony TEN 4. You can also tune into the Sony LIV app or website for all the updates in Birmingham.
(Main image Courtesy: Commonwealth Sport/ @thecgf/ Instagram; Featured image Courtesy: Pvsindhu/ Twitter)